‘Buzz is
building up’ ahead of
charity cycle

‘Buzz is 
building up’ ahead of 
charity cycle
Students dressed in bright orange tshirts, boys zooming around on bikes during school hours and a minion (known from the Despicable Me films) dancing and offering hugs.

Students dressed in bright orange tshirts, boys zooming around on bikes during school hours and a minion (known from the Despicable Me films) dancing and offering hugs.

St Mel’s College was a strange sight to behold last Thursday - strange but wonderful.

The occasion wasthe promotion of the upcoming Cycle Against Suicide. At the end of this month, the cycle will travel through Longford, and St Mel’s and the nearby Meán Scoil Mhuire have joined forces to act as an anchor school, welcoming the cyclists, promoting the event, organising activities and generally raising awareness of mental health.

Link teacher for St Mel’s and their Guidance Councillor, Ms Hazel Concar, explained, “What happened was Meán Scoil Mhuire had suggested the project and they realised they needed a lot of space.”

The school then made contact with St Mel’s and the project became a combined one.

“It’s a great opportunity for the two schools to come together,” Hazel pointed out.

Along with teachers Ms Concar and Ms Chrissie Hardiman, who teaches PE in Scoil Mhuire, the project is steered by a committee of thirteen students; six Transition Years from St Mel’s and seven fifth years from Scoil Mhuire. They have already carried out great work in the name of the charity, and are enjoying it.

Explaining that they had put up posters, attained sponsors and held a ‘hug a minion day’, Daire Ó’Muirí added, “It was something completely different to anything I’ve done before.”

Ben Ryan stated that the project was “great craic altogether” and revealed that he had learned a lot, before praising the staff of the schools for their support.

The students also referenced the Positive Health weeks held in both schools during the year, further raising awareness of mental health among the youth of Longford.

According to Chrissie, the students are responding well to the cycle and its message and she added, “I think it’s very important for just heightening awareness of mental health issues among adolescents”.

Those sentiments were echoed by Hazel, who went on to say, “It’s great to create a buzz around the school, to create a positive atmosphere.

“It’s important that students know it’s okay not to feel okay and it’s absolutely okay to ask for help.”

Though the small group have been in planning stages for a number of months now, the event has really kicked off, and there is great excitement throughout both schools, with students eager to get involved in any way they can. This is proven in the sales of the Cycle Against Suicide tshirts and wristbands in St Mel’s, where the tshirts had to be re-ordered. One of the committee members, Tomás Skelly, has also learned the Cycle’s official song and treated some of his peers and the Irish TV team, who were there to film the launch, to a performance of it on Thursday.

“The buzz is really building up now,” Hazel said. “They enjoyed the positive health week and that’s really set the ball rolling.”

Complimenting her fellow staff members and the people of Longford for their generosity and support, Hazel added that while people may think negatively when they hear of mental health, “it’s important to cultivate your positive mental health”.

The Cycle Against Suicide will come to Longford from Thursday, April 30 until Friday, May 1. While here, the cyclists and all involved will enjoy the hospitality of the people of Longford, particularly the two local schools, who have planned some excellent activities for the occasion, including music, videos and guest speakers.